Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Marilyn Mystery

I've been trying to get some free time today to post, and all day every moment was spoken for in some way or another. It's frightening sometimes how circumstances control our actions, guiding us through the precious moments of our lives. Some of my distractions are wonderful—my wife and daughter. For them I would give my life without hesitation. But to give away time to petty concerns of relentless daily gremlins, well, I'm sure you know what I mean.

But blogging is not useless time. It gives me the opportunity to think and focus, to really examine closely the images that help give meaning to my existence. And enough of you check in here (amongst so many blogs better than this one) for me to know that we have a common love of images, and make it a worthwhile use of precious time, even though it is (literally) the end of the day.

Well, I don't know where that came from, other than I'm glad to be back at the keyboard.

In January of 1980, Playboy magazine, in its closing pages ran a public query about some interesting photos of the earthly goddess Marilyn Monroe—which you can read about here:

These photos are truly lovely as evidenced by a better view of the primary shot:


There was a response to that query. Artist Jon Whitcomb (illustrator extraordinaire of the women's magazines of the 50s and 60s) explained the pictures' origin:

"Dear Playboy, Mystery Division: For The American Weekly issue of April 6, 1958, Hearst needed an Easter hat feature and asked me to paint six ladies for it. As usual, overnight. A photographer named Carl Perutz or some such Nom de Nikon handled Marilyn. He was never heard from again. If he was demolished on East 18th Street amidst actors, I'm sorry to hear it."

This illustration above was obviously painted from the photo above it, but Whitcomb also painted Monroe directly on three other occasions:

The cover above, and the piece below were painted during the shooting of Wilder's Some Like It Hot.

The piece below dates from the shooting of The Misfits and appeared in the December 1969 Cosmopolitan.


4 comments:

M. D. Jackson said...

The only thing better than a picture of Marilyn Monroe is a painting of Monroe done by a great artist. Thanks, Thom, for providing both!

joe bloke said...

hell, yeah, I know how you feel, mate. sometimes, life just has a habit of getting in the way, doesn't it? but you keep slogging away. trust me, it's worth every second of the effort. you've got a fantastic blog here, a real gem, and I know for a fact that my life, at least, has been made all the better by it's existence.

and thanks for the Marilyn!

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

MD-you betcha and there's more Marilyn down the road.

Joe-wot the hell? Thanks! I really appreciate that. Sometimes when I'm scanning, I think 'I bet Joe'll like this . . .'

Jack R said...

Hi Thomas,
Really interesting post, and I can emphathize about how various sorts of distractions, mundane and not so, routinely pop up to intrude on the true priorities of life (outside of family, of course) associated with crafting and posting a blog entry.
Best,
Jack